The final votes are now being tallied in Coca-Cola’s contest to determine America’s favorite park.
Residents from around the country participated in the national campaign, “Take It To The Park” sponsored by the Atlanta-based company, which awards the community park with the most votes a $100,000 grant.
“The purpose of the campaign is to get people outside and active and to support their parks,” said Katie Condon, Director of Brand and Business Communications for the Coca-Cola Company. “We understand that people who do it will get out and do it for a lifetime.”
First place will take home the $100,000 grand prize, second place will win $50,000 and third place is awarded $25,000.
This is the fourth year Coca-Cola has done the campaign and it began on June 6.
A number of parks in the Atlanta area are in the running for the award, including Grant Park on Cherokee Ave., which has received more than 500 votes.
“We have a really great youth program and with the grant we can make it better,” said Dennis Miller, recreational assistant at Grant Park. “We can even make it so that the kids don’t have to pay as much or even nothing at all with the money.”
In 2012, Pratt Park in Prattville, Ala., won the competition with 28 million votes.
In the contest, there are three ways that a resident can vote. One way is to visit the official campaign website and vote for their favorite park once a day. Another is for residents to check-in with FourSquare at their park for five votes. And the last, worth 10 votes, is by logging 20 minutes of activities with the MapMyFitness app.
Coca-Cola has since taken down the voting numbers, but no park in Georgia had jumped into the top 25 before the double vote days on July 13 and 14.
Combined there have been 1 million votes cast and over 80,000 hours of activity. Coca-Cola made it possible for residents to keep track of how other states are doing in the campaign with live updating.
Veterans Memorial Park in Moore, Okla., which was ravaged by the May 20 tornado that took the lives of 24 people, including nine children, has garnered more than 358,000 votes and is in the lead. Mason Neck State Park in Lorton, Va., with over 320,000 votes, is close behind.
“We never think that we can’t win,” said Miller of Grant Park’s chances. “We always think we have a chance and if you think like that, then you can’t win.”
Other parks in the Atlanta area include Springvale Park, located on Eulcid Ave with over 700 votes; Brownwood Park, located on Portland Ave., with over 1000 votes; Historic Fourth Ward Park, with 14 votes; and Piedmont Park with over 520 votes.
“Parks are a wonderful way for people to get out and active,” said Condon. “We want them to understand that they have natural resources in their backyard to get active and that they don’t need access to a gym.”
Voting ended July 15 and more than 11,600 parks participated in the campaign. The high rate of participation means that Georgia residents will likely have another shot to crack the top 25 next year.
“We will continue to do the campaign as long as there is support for it, “said Condon. “We want to make sure that people are excited for it.”